Solomon specifically targets the Israeli security barrier between Jerusalem and Bethlehem as the culprit responsible for spoiling the Christmas cheer:
Indeed, Solomon devotes 6 paragraphs to this notion in which she interviews a "foreigner", Protestant Minister Doris Warrell, who laments that:The two cities are divided by just a few kilometres (miles) but also an Israeli wall that complicates the journey.
And that on a "very different trip to Bethlehem in 1994":"I have a clear impression that the Israeli government would prefer that I not come here"
What Solomon fails to mention is that Warrell is not just another foreign tourist who happened to be on a shopping trip to Bethlehem on the lucky day when Solomon was interviewing. Warrell lived near Bethlehem between 1994 and 1995 and is a professional fundraiser and political activist for "Palestine". While there is nothing untoward in this role, we think readers are entitled to this information when assessing whether Warrell's comments are those of a neutral observer."People were happy and celebrating. There was a checkpoint, but you didn't have this huge visual impediment," she said, in reference to the West Bank barrier... As someone who wants peace for both Palestinians and Israelis, to see that wall there is just an indicator of how many steps back we've taken."
Note also, Solomon's meager sotto voce handling of Israel's rationale for the security barrier:
As compared to her loquacious parroting of the Palestinian line:Israel says the barrier has largely succeeded in reducing violence. [10 words]
In fact, that "huge visual impediment" has saved countless lives. Comparing the situation today with events prior to construction:Palestinians, backed by a ruling from the World Court, see its construction on occupied West Bank territory as a land grab and a tool to consolidate Israeli control of Jerusalem. [30 words]
We have no nostalgia for the "cheer" of Christmas past.On Feb. 22, 2004, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades dispatched Muhammed Za'ul from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. He detonated a bomb strapped to his body on Egged bus No. 14A in Jerusalem, killing eight and wounding more than 60; 11 of them were high school students,
Palestinians handing out sweets in celebration of a successful suicide bombing in Jerusalem.